Unpaid Internships remain inaccessible for some students

Students+majoring+in+Public+Relations+and+Advertising+are+required+to+complete+an+internship+prior+to+graduation

Students majoring in Public Relations and Advertising are required to complete an internship prior to graduation

The phrase ‘internships are paid with experience’ is commonly used to justify the lack of pay for interns.

“I personally feel that unpaid internships take advantage of young professionals and disregard their personal need for income,” Rachael Beech, a junior in the College of Communication and a marketing intern for Marquette Dining, said.

For Marquette University students, internships are either required or strongly recommended prior to graduation. Many internships, however, are unpaid.

“I think that it it super important for companies to keep in mind that just because someone is in college, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have financial needs like housing expenses and school expenses,” Beech said.

Students majoring in advertising or public relations are the only majors in the university required to complete at least one internship prior to graduation. All other College of Communication majors are strongly recommended but not required. This does not apply to other colleges throughout the university.

As the internship coordinator for the College of Communication, Sheena Carey helps students find internship opportunities to allow them to meet this requirement.

“I post internship opportunities on social media, share with college faculty and students and work with students to identify specific opportunities based on their career interests,” Carey said. “I also work closely with the Career Services Center to ensure students are accessing internship information through Handshake and career fairs.”

Even though internships are required for some majors, students still have to pay tuition on their internship credits in order for them to count for credit towards graduation.

The tuition is charged during the semester that the internship is completed. Internships for credit completed during the fall and spring semesters are part of full-time tuition fees and those completed during the J-session or the summer session are separately billed at summer tuition rates.

In the College of Arts & Sciences, internships are not required for graduation.

However, there is a grant funded by the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation that provides financial support for up to 30 undergraduate students in the College of Arts & Sciences per semester to participate in unpaid internships.

“We’re able to really bridge that gap with the equity issue and give options or assistance to students who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity because of needing to work to fund school,” Alexis Lockett-Glover, internship coordinator for the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Giana Cacciato, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, is an Arthur Vining Davis Foundations grant recipient.

“This program really helped me because my internship was not paying me, and I was not receiving credit for it over the summer. I really wanted to accept the opportunity but because I needed to have some benefit for it, I was going to turn it down,” Cacciato said. “After I found out about the grant, I was able to participate as an intern and I have continued to do so into this semester.”

The internship program works to help low-income and first-generation students participate in internships to improve their career readiness.

“Having an internship this summer drastically changed the trajectory of my career future,” Cacciato said.

In the College of Engineering, students who are in the construction engineering and management program must complete a co-op prior to graduation, but internships are not required for any major in the college.

A co-op is a program that balances classroom theory with periods of practical, hands-on experience prior to graduation. All co-ops are paid positions.

In the College of Education, service learning and field experience is required for all teacher certification candidates and educational studies majors. A community-engaged internship is required for educational studies candidates only.

Students in the College of Business Administration are not required to complete an internship prior to graduation but it is strongly recommended.

This story was written by Bailey Striepling. She can be reached at bailey.striepling@marquette.edu.